Tuesday, October 20, 2015

A Royal Holiday.. and a blog milestone :)

Just as I was about to publish this blog, I noticed that the blog has passed 100K views!!!!  Yayayayayayay and thank you all :)

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This holiday's been in the making for a couple of years now. In 2013, I started browsing Club Mahindra resorts in Rajasthan with an idea of going there but suddenly noticed the one at Dubai and ended up just like that booking that instead :P. (Link to that holiday) That resort was definitely a good find, and I have been recommending it to anyone who has a Club M membership.

One week was the time we had for this holiday, so I decided to stick with 2 out of the 3 Club M resorts in the state. Jaisalmer is the toughest to get to as it's 300 km away from the nearest airport at Jodhpur, but there was no way I was leaving it out. For someone who studied in the state (at Pilani) for 4 years, I had seen woefully little of it, and the vision of untouched sands had always been a dream. Since a lot of road travel was involved, we decided to go with a fixed car and driver for the entire trip, from getting picked up at Jodhpur airport to getting dropped back there at the end of the week. We were lucky to get an enthusiastic Rajasthani local from Udaipur as our driver - he helped set our daily itinerary and also told us lot of local tales along the drive.

Day 1: After a long day of travel (morning flight, afternoon another 300 km by car), we arrived on Saturday(10th night) at Jaisalmer.

Morning view of our resort
Day 2: Though the fort was one of the main attractions, our driver suggested we leave it for the next day while covering everything else on our first proper day of sightseeing in the city. We started with a nice boat ride on the man-made Gadisar lake - there was quite a lot of water in the lake with a lot of fish (the catfish variety) being fed at places. The fish here thrive due to fishing not being allowed.

Boating on Gadisar Lake
Next stop was the Patwaon ki Haveli, which is a well maintained abode-turned-museum. It contained a lot of intricate carving work in wood and the golden stone of the region, and also some rooms set up in the style of the time.

The lovely intricate work in the typical "golden" stone of Jaisalmer
The Living Room of the Haveli
One of the stories our driver Devendra told us was about a "legend" of the area - the abandoned village of Kuldhara. Though TripAdvisor reviews had warned me that this was more hype than anything else, I thought it was worth it to get carried away by the enthusiasm of the moment so decided to check it out anyway. The story goes that the entire place consisting of 5000 families from many villages in the area just upped and left in one night, all to protect a 10-11 year old girl, the "daughter" of the village from being carried off by an invading ruler. 

At Kuldhara Village
The abandoned homes of Kuldhara
Our day wasn't over yet, it was only about 3:30 pm when we left Kuldhara and off we headed to our Desert Safari. I was hoping to avoid the camel ride (for both our sakes) but somehow it was meant to be and it was on camel-back that we reached the beautiful sands to view the sunset. We got back to the desert camp for a cultural show and dinner before heading back to the resort.

Our beautiful beast of burden

Trying to capture the sunset

Just couldn't get enough of it!

Nearly done
Day 3: We had some warnings from our driver that the Golden Fort was not the cleanest as it was a "living" or lived-in fort. Even then, we were a bit surprised by the condition inside, especially in narrow spaces where the pigeon droppings overwhelmed our olfactory senses. With all that in the background, it is still difficult to not be impressed by the history and architecture all around. The history and spirit of Rajasthan really lies in its forts, as we were just beginning to discover.

Starting our tour of the fort
The "lived-in" look - notice the clotheslines
View of the city from a high point of the fort
I can see that this is beginning to get not just long, but also very photo heavy. So I'll stop here, and put the remaining stories/pics in Part 2 :). Thanks for reading!

12 comments:

  1. Such a lovely tour of the Rajasthani landscape through your pictures and stories, Apu :) I am so glad you got to go on this break and looking forward to part 2! YAY on the 100k views and now you KNOW this means you have to blog again more often :D

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    1. Thanks for reading as ever my dear Shailaja :). Yes yes, I am going to try. Or maybe I'll just travel more often to find material to write on ;)

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  2. Looking fwd for part2!

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    1. Part II just up, and thanks so much for reading :)

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  3. Waiting for part 2 :D .. Rajasthan is on my wishlist too..

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    1. Thanks for reading and commenting Priyanka :). Part II just up.

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  4. First of all, congrats on the 100K views. Way to go! I enjoyed your pics and tour. Though, I must admit that the Jaisalmer fort was a big letdown for me. I cannot imagine how this great monument is in such a state of disrepair. The desert safari and camel ride did make up a bit though.

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    1. That's absolutely how I felt too Rachna. Seemed a lovely monument, but the concept of a "living" fort seemed to really make it tough to maintain.

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  5. 100K views! Awesome! Congratulations!
    I was following your updates on FB and was meaning to read these posts but just missed it. So today I saw with my lunch and read all the three in one shot. First things first - great time off with family!
    That sunset and the ruins of the village are the show stopper for me. I am a sucker for anything that's destroyed or no longer exists. From that craze that village must have been a great place to look around. Enjoyed reading your post. And makes me think when will I go to Rajasthan? :)
    Leaving a link of the ruins of a fort near Pondicherry - http://happinessandfood.com/unplanned-and-unexplored/ Do read when you get time :)

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    1. Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment Parul, and sorry for my late response! I am definitely going to catch up with a lot more blog reading in 2016 and your post will be on top of my list :).

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  6. Beautiful pics and narration Aparna. Interesting legend there. Hope to go to Rajasthan some day soon..

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    1. Thanks a lot for dropping in and commenting Asha. Rajasthan is indeed a lovely place to go on holiday, you must plan a trip soon!

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